This news is from England, but I’m willing to bet something like it won’t be long in coming to other countries as well – if it’s not already happening, but without publicity (NSA, anyone?). The Telegraph reports:
Councils [i.e. municipalities], the taxman and dozens of other public bodies will be able to search the internet and social media activity of everyone in Britain, The Telegraph can disclose.
Technology firms will be required to keep records of the websites and apps which people have used and details of when they accessed them for 12 months under new powers unveiled this week.
The new powers, contained in legislation which is published on Wednesday, will primarily be used by police and the security services in pursuit of suspected terrorists and serious criminals.
They will not be allowed to see which pages people have viewed or their searches while on the websites and apps, or the content of any messages, without a warrant.
However, The Telegraph understands that a total of 38 bodies will also be entitled to access the records for the purpose of “detecting or preventing crime”.
. . .
The intelligence agencies, police and the National Crime Agency will be the most prolific users of the new powers.
But other bodies including the Financial Conduct Authority, HMRC, councils, the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to access the information.
Mrs May told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show: “As people move into the digital age they no longer always communicate on telephone, they communicate over the internet.
“So, what we’re talking about is just knowing that first step, that who has been contacted [by whom] or did this particular device access WhatsApp at 13.10 or Facebook at 14.05 – it doesn’t go beyond that.
“It’s precisely this area of catching paedophiles and dealing with child abuse that is precisely one of the reasons why we want this ability to look at these internet connection records.”
There’s more at the link. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Just why would no less than 38 – thirty-eight! – ‘bodies’ need such powers? Why not just one – a police force – to which the others must come with evidence justifying a search warrant that’s issued by a judge before it’s allowed to act on their behalf? And if you’re sure that such sweeping powers of investigation into the most mundane details of your private life won’t be misused and abused before long by some over-zealous investigator, or some overreaching official body out to ensure that you pay the taxes they think you owe . . . raise your hand and speak up.
This has just happened with our own domestic spying bill. Internet companies will be "encouraged" to "voluntarily share" users' personal data with the Gov't, for which they will receive immunity from lawsuits from their users. Also, they will receive an blanket exemption from FOIA requests, so you can't find out if your information has been shared with the Gov't.
Big Brother indeed.
Here is some further info detailing how bad it is. I have to question what rational was behind this, outside of setting up a surveillance state.
"for the purpose of "detecting or preventing crime".
And then there are those of us who are looking things like how to make cyanide or blast radius for research purposes – but the average person won't know the difference.
Oh yeah, it will keep us all safe – from people trying to write.
Well, then, if "they" can target us without probable cause or warrant, by their avoidance or deliberate breaking of Law, it stands to reason that we can also target "them".
So here is where we hold "them" accountable: Publicize every position and name – and address, phone, email, FB, Twitter, Linked-In, etc. ad infinitum – of those politicians, attorneys general, district attorneys, judges, lawyers, cops. And publicize our efforts to do so, to ensure that "they" understand the consequences of their actions.
Self-defense, after all, is an over-riding lawful Right of everyone, no matter what some idiot lawmaker says. And really good self-defense, as the various war departments of every nation repeatedly demonstrate, requires proactive measures.
"They" take all that money from each of us to fund their various activities, which are justified by their "research" also paid for with money taken from us. It is only right that we take advantage of our (involuntary( investments and use the very same justifications in our own protection.
Our failure is that we've let "Them" get away for so long with an unblemished faith in their invulnerability. If we put them into the same position, privacy-and-safety-wise, as they have us, "they" might see the light.
You said it. I'm reading this article, and as I get further, I find myself thinking "there's gotta be a 'just kidding' or 'early, horrific April fools!' at the end of this…nope. It's real. I…the Ministry of Truth was not intended as a blueprint or How-To guide you mangy, diseased, despicable wastes of human flesh!! What in the name of all that is holy has possessed the rulers of this world? I get that history rhymes, and it's all a part of His plan, but c'mon! He gave us this place as a father gives his son authority over one of his vinyards; the father's business plan will succeed regardless of his son's stewardship over the vineyard in question, but the Father still expects a certain level of competency or effort from his child, no? This vineyard is in really fricking bad shape. Vengeance is the Lord's, but earthly justice is partially the responsibility of the children(us) so mayhap it's about time we started fixing what the fallen, unrepentant dogs (my apologies to the canine genus) that wield political power on this earth have broken. Or maybe I'm just tired and utterly fed up with all this bullshittake mushrooms, and it's making me bloody-minded. I don't know. Anyway, yes, let these politicians and bureaucrats be as exposed and naked to the world's scrutiny as they would have their citizens be exposed and naked. May they feel deep sorrow at the actions they have taken. "Aristo! To the lamppost!" (Good thing I'm not living in South Carolina. Rhetoric like that is unlawful unless you register as a "subversive" before using it, there. Yes, I'm completely serious. Since 2010, violent rhetoric against the government or its officials is illegal in South Carolina. Of course it's explicitly in violation of SCoTUS precedents regarding free speech, but no one has sued yet, so the law technically stands)
Sorry for how long winded this ended up being…
Publishing the complete browsing history of every MP would be a good start. If 38 designated agencies can access everyone's history, it stands to reason that anyone can then access anyone's history if they put a bit of effort into it. The potential for large-scale blackmail here boggles the mind.
While I support an equality between police powers on the ground and on the net, why should we believe they'll be using these powers responsibly when they've spent the past 10-20 years proving otherwise?
Any power that CAN be abused, WILL be abused.
That is simply human nature at work. Which is why .gov should always have strict limits on what their minions can do. And, it isn't just setting limits on what they are allowed to do, they must also be limited, as much as possible, in what they can actually accomplish, as practical limits are more trustworthy than regulations.
Don't give them access to equipment that is designed to circumvent laws, to start with.
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Oh bother. I deleted a comment in which I explained who that long rambling post was written to…I realized that I didn't need to clarify. I didn't realize I couldn't just erase that comment… why am I explaining? Because I can't help myself. Lol.
will primarily [NOTE: "Primarily" – i.e., not "Only"] be used by police and the security services in pursuit of suspected terrorists and serious criminals.
[i.e., anyone expressing dissatisfaction with the government]
"So here is where we hold "them" accountable: Publicize every position and name – and address, phone, email, FB, Twitter, Linked-In, etc. ad infinitum – of those politicians, attorneys general, district attorneys, judges, lawyers, cops. And publicize our efforts to do so, to ensure that "they" understand the consequences of their actions."
Yes! They know who we are and where we live, I'd like to know who and where "they" are.